Recipe modification and ideas

Looking for some healthy recipe ideas? Check out the links below for heart-friendly, tasty meal ideas!

Do you have a recipe that you enjoy to cook? Below are some suggestions to modify your favourite recipes!

Meat, chicken, fish, eggs and alternatives

  • Trim visible fat from meats, use lean meats and avoid marbled meats (e.g. sausages).
  • Remove skin from chicken.
  • Include a variety of meats in your diet e.g. fish (fresh or canned), ham, chicken breast, turkey.
  • Substitute meat in dishes with beans and legumes.
  • Boil, poach or scramble eggs; use a non-stick pan.
  • If scrambling eggs or preparing an omelette use low-fat milk.
  • Grill, roast or barbeque meats on a rack to allow fat to drain off, and avoid adding oils.
  • If required, brush oil onto meats or use a spray oil, rather than pouring over.
  • Instead of frying schnitzels, bake in the oven.
  • Keep cooked meat portion to 100-120g per person.
  • Replace bacon with 97% fat free bacon, lean ham or turkey bacon.

Milk, cheese and yoghurt

  • Use reduced fat cheeses e.g. ricotta, cottage, reduced fat tasty or extra light cream cheese.
  • Choose low-fat, reduced fat or skim dairy products.
  • Select low-fat, diet flavoured yoghurts.
  • Prepare custard using low-fat milk and sweeteners.
  • Coconut milk and coconut cream is high in saturated fat, limit use and select low-fat or skim varieties.
  • Add yoghurt to breakfast cereals.
  • Use cottage cheese or natural yoghurt in baked potatoes instead of sour cream.

Breads and cereals

  • Experiment with couscous, quinoa, cracked wheat, and different types of rice, pasta and noodles.
  • Choose wholegrain or wholemeal breads and cereals.
  • Use long-grain rice e.g. Doongara Clever rice, Basmati.
  • Add tomato based sauces to pasta dishes.
  • Use pita bread for a base for homemade pizzas.


  • Use filo pastry as it has a lower saturated fat content compared to puff, short crusted and choux pastry.
  • Use a brush to cover filo with low-fat milk or egg, and an oil spray to grease the outside.

Fats and oils

  • Use little or no oil in cooking.
  • Use a spray oil rather than a liquid oil as you are likely to use less.
  • Healthy cooking methods include steaming, blanching, pan-fry with minimal oil, grilling, roasting and baking.
  • Choose non-stick fry pans or baking paper.
  • Use mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated margarines and oils, and use in small quantities.
  • Use a thin spread of margarine, avocado, extra light cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or low-fat mayonnaise, instead of butter.
  • Replace cream on desserts with low-fat, diet flavoured yoghurts, Fruche or evaporated skim milk (whipped and chilled).
  • Replace sour cream with natural yoghurt or buttermilk.
  • Replace creamy sauces with buttermilk, low-fat evaporated milk, low-fat natural yoghurt or skim milk thickened with corn flour.
  • Avoid using lard, ghee, copha, butter or butter blends in cooking as they are high in saturated fat.
  • Fry or sauté foods in wine, stock, juice or water, instead of oil.
  • Use oil-free salad dressings, low-fat mayonnaise or lemon juice.


  • Replace sugar in recipes with unsweetened juice, dried or fresh fruit.
  • Use vegetables (e.g. carrot, pumpkin, zucchini) in sweet and savoury baking.
  • Use artificial sweeteners e.g. Splenda.
  • Stew fruit in diet lemonade or fruit juice.
  • Look at the amount of sugar that is added in recipes and aim to reduce it. Try to use smaller quantities.


  • Choose items that are labelled reduced salt.
  • Avoid adding salt to cooking and to meals.
  • To enhance flavour use herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar, wine and tomato puree.
  • Do not add salt substitutes (e.g. chicken salt, rock salt) as they have the same effect on your health as normal salt.

Fruits and vegetables

  • Fruit and vegetable skins contain fibre, so avoid removing the skin where possible.
  • Add fruit to cakes and muffins.
  • Add fruit to yoghurt, custard and breakfast cereals.
  • Make fruit smoothies with yoghurt, ice and fruit.
  • Make fruit kebabs by dicing fruit and placing on skewers for a fun and tasty snack.
  • Add vegetables, beans and legumes to casseroles, stews, soups, stir-fries, nachos, patties, pies, sauces, and rice and pasta dishes (diced, grated).
  • When making vegetable chips (e.g. potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnip), cut up the vegetables, parboil then lightly spray with oil and bake in the oven. Alternatively microwave cook vegetables, then mix with 1 teaspoon oil and herbs, then grill.
  • Roast vegetables by spraying or brushing the vegetables with oil in a pan.
  • Add vegetables to omelettes.
  • Serve carrot, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and capsicum sticks with dip.
  • Make mini pizzas, with crumpets or English muffins covered with diced vegetables and sprinkled with cheese.



1. The Department of Health WA, The State of Western Australia 1998, Tips, viewed 14 March 2013,
2. The Diabetes Centre, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2010, Recipe Modification, viewed 14 March 2013
3. Diabetes SA 2013, Healthy hints for modifying recipes, viewed 7 May 2013